Universal Orlando and Legoland Florida are planning to re-open as soon as this June — but with social distancing restrictions put in place to ensure the safety of their guests. Universal Orlando plans to re-open the park to team members on June 1 and June 2 before opening to invited guests and annual passholders on June 3 and June 4, and finally, the public on June 5. Meanwhile, Legoland Florida is cutting right to the meal, opening its Legoland Pirate Island Hotel on June 1. Both theme parks announced re-opening plans that will put in place restrictions such as face masks, social distancing queues, elimination of mist elements of attractions, elimination of meet-and-greets, and more.
Universal Orlando (via Inside the Magic) officially announced their re-opening plans Thursday, setting the re-opening date for team members on June 1 and 2, before passholders and invited guests are let in on June 3 and 4, and finally the public is allowed on June 5. However, the popular theme park will open with restrictions in place for both staff and guests.
The Universal Team is required to do self temperature checks every single day, while both the team and guests will be required to take temperature checks upon arrival before entry is allowed. Here some of the other restrictions that will be put in place once Universal Orlando re-opens:
- They will provide a free, disposable mask for guests if they do not bring their own.
- Social distancing in queue lines, merchandise stores, food outlets, and more.
- Keeping a safe attendance maximum that Universal will manage.
- Reduce and/or eliminate mist elements from attractions.
- Implementation of virtual lines.
- Eliminating single rider lines.
- Elimination of post show meet and greets.
- Restaurant menus will have single use menus (paper). Once the guest is done with the menu, they will be disposed.
- Touchless ordering of food and contactless payments will be encouraged. (Minimization of cash use.)
- Temperature checks and face coverings required for team members.
- Ambassadors scattered throughout the park to help encourage sanitization, hand washing, and social distancing measures.
June 1 will be a busy day for theme park re-openings, as the new Legoland Pirate Island Hotel will open on June 1 as well, according to Legoland Florida Resort’s official website. The hotel was originally planned to open in April of this year but was pushed back due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Legoland Florida Resort has not announced their official re-opening yet, but issued a statement to Attractions Magazine saying that they’re “ready to play” and “look forward to reopening LEGOLAND Florida Resort as a safe and memorable place for families to play again soon”:
The health and safety of our guests and employees at LEGOLAND® Florida Resort continues to be paramount. In preparation for the reopening of our Resort, we have developed a comprehensive plan of enhanced health and safety measures that received endorsement from the Polk County Commission and Winter Haven Mayor Bradley T. Dantzler this week. Our reopening plan, along with both local government endorsement letters, was submitted to Governor Ron DeSantis this morning. We’re ready to play, and we look forward to reopening LEGOLAND Florida Resort as a safe and memorable place for families to play again soon.
But once the theme park does re-open, Legoland will also be putting in place similar restrictions, including required face masks and temperature checks — however Legoland won’t be providing face masks for those who didn’t bring one. Rex Jackson, the general manager of Legoland, also confirmed the park will open at maximum 50% capacity and other sanitation guidelines, though the park needs state approval to re-open
Universal and Disney have both already opened their respective shopping districts, which may provide some insight into how these theme park openings may go. Both require face masks and temperature screenings, while staggered queues have ensured the six-foot social distancing minimum. Hand washing stations and hand sanitizers are also abundant. While some of these early openings are encouraging in that they show that it is possible to safely re-open crowded public areas in the time when armed protesters refuse to wear masks, theme parks are still historically a breeding ground for disease. But Universal Orlando’s re-opening will certainly be a test for Disney and other theme parks when they all inevitably re-open.
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